The main focus of this research will be on the nature of Arabic-speaking states, their influence on various aspects of life, and results the afore-mentioned events cause during specific periods of time. An attempt will be made to define the term ‘the Arab world’, as well as elaborate on the most predominant political governance and administration systems present in these countries. These forms of administration will be further ascertained by providing various examples to forestall any doubt. The examples will include the number and nature of the states, and will be based on authentic secondary data. The task will be considered acceptable if it is relevant, grammatically anchored in the acceptable English language principles and presented in a well-structured manner. The focus will oscillate within these attributes and cap it with a conclusion to the findings which are consistent with the reality.
The beauty of this episode lies in the knowledge of the term ‘Arab World.’ With regard to my personal research, the eventual findings expose ‘Arab World’ as predominantly Arabic-speaking states. These countries not only engage in Arabic language, but also largely adopt a political rule that derives its laws consistent with the teachings of the Quran (an Islamic holy book).
What are the Main Political Systems that Emerged in the Arab World after World War II?
After World War II, most Arab states adopted different ways of political and administrative methods, such as political dynasties (monarchies), democracies and hybrid systems. An example of this is Saudi Arabia, which is a state with an absolute monarchy, but with some traces of democratic elements, thus making it more stable compared to other monarchies like Yemen. Of course, the most stable absolute monarchy that has embraced the said democratic principles is the United Arab Emirates (UAE). This kind of political administration might be perceived as hybrid.
It is worthwhile to consider the case of the Palestine-Israel States. Initially, the region was predominantly occupied by Arabic-speaking groups. 1948 saw the United Nations legitimize the Jewish state of Israel on the territory of Palestine. This led to an altered way of governance within that region, but with numerous disastrous repercussions.
Another political system that emerged after World War II is Arab republics, such as Egypt. Previously, Egypt was ruled by monarchs, but this trend changed after a coup staged by Gamal Abdel Nasser in 1952. President Nasser ushered in some of the western cultures, whilst reshaping the new Egypt to attain a new status; becoming a republic. Some critics viewed the Egyptian democracy as being cosmetic due to her maintenance of a single political party for a long period of time. Their argument is that most Arab states that practiced the previous system, might find it difficult to fully integrate into the new order.
Libya is another example of Arab countries that were initially ruled by monarchs. The country’s former leader, Muammar Gaddafi, obtained power through an elaborate coup plan against his predecessor. This led to a complete change of the political landscape of Libya. The other forms of leadership that resulted from the regime change included autocracy and despotism, although dictatorships were the order of the day in the previous systems.
In states like Syria, King Assad was later to adopt a system which eventually resulted in outright dictatorship. This kind of political leadership emerged after the end of World War II. The present leadership represented by his son is even more dictatorial than the previous regime. The scenario has put Syria in an awkward position, for it is perceived as one of the failed Arab states that ignore fundamental human rights. It is safe to say that all these attributes gained momentum after the end of World War II.
Formation of the Arab League of Nations
The Arab League of Nations is a political organization formed after the end of World War II with the aim of addressing challenges facing the Arab world. The organization was to handle the grievances of such Arab states as Palestine, harmonize techniques of engagements among governments of the Arab world and also look into international relations with other governments outside the group. Its main goal was to coordinate and strengthen economic, social and political activities of member states. Other activities included scientific and cultural advancements. Formed in Egypt on March 22, 1945, the organization consists of Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Yemen. Other member states include Iraq, Lebanon and Jordan. Syria was also a member until recently (2011), when she was suspended from the organization.
The suspension of Syria was due to what the body perceives as engaging in subversive activities, such as gross violation of basic human rights committed by the government. Most definitely, mass killings of ordinary citizens by the regime resulted in conclusions that the country is a ‘police state.’ The organization also intervened in the Lebanon crisis which took place in 1958.
Sources of Legitimacy of the Arab World
Most of the governments analyzed in this context justified their legitimacy by either dynastic traditions or religion. Others based their legitimacy on the universal suffrage or electoral system, but to a limited extent. Generally, most of the Arab states are ruled by monarchies that gained power through hereditary means. This caused some of the most prominent dynasties to emerge that are still in power today. With few exceptions, it also led to the emergence of autocratic governments. .
The above arguments can be substantiated by providing some examples, such as Iran. In Iran, the government is made up of elected officials led by the President (Ahmedjaned), but the head of state remains a supreme spiritual leader (Ayatollah Khomeini). Such kingdoms as Qatar and United Arab Emirates (UAE) are absolute dynasties. Libya under Gaddafi and Iraq under Saddam Hussein went from autocracy to despotism due to the immense powers enjoyed by their leaders. Apart from the above exceptions, most Arab states drew their powers from the holy book of Quran. In other words, they mainly abide by ‘Shariah’ laws in managing their public affairs. This is particularly evident in the way kingdoms or states like Saudi Arabia and Iran are ruled.
ArabRepublics’ Attempt to Solve the Problems of Late Industrialization
The late industrialization problems which were experienced by Arab republics were handled differently. First, economic organizations such as the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC), were formed. As most of Arab states are oil-producing countries, this was an attempt to demystify their cause in the oil industry as main stakeholders. The body was to deal with various business barriers in this sector, such as elimination of imperialists, which mainly consisted of Europeans. It was also to give these states absolute power to have direct control over their crude oil products.
Arab states came together in order to launch their own military aviation industry (AOL). The move was dictated by the need to give an adequate response to the more established military aviation industry in Israel. Founded in Egypt, it was comprised of Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. It, however, became wholly owned by Egypt after the other members withdrew.
Impacts of the 1973 and 1976 Arab-Israel Wars
The 1973 conflict was triggered by the United Arab countries’ surprise attack on Israel. The attack was launched jointly by Egypt and Syria on October 6, 1973.This prompted the then US President Richard Nixon to allow arms supply to their besieged ally Israel. The move angered most of the Arab states, thereby resulting in devastating effects that lasted for a substantial period of time. It was one of the momentous events in history, and its impacts included economic crush (depression), price surge for crude oil, sour international relations between competing countries and instability of OPEC. Other effects included the Bretton Woods’ challenge, search for other alternatives and rationing of essential items. This was also conjoined with price controls. Most of the effects touched on all the aspects of human life, such as economic, social and political components. During the war, the stock market plunged resulting in recession and a crush. It was caused by the decision of oil-producing Arab states to withhold their oil supplies from perceived hostile territories, such as the USA. Of course, such a move could not but result in a rapid increase in oil prices. Rationing and control of prices on vital items like gas also took precedence. Enmity between competing countries, as well as craving for other alternatives became evident. These alternatives were identified when Henry Kissinger, the US Secretary of State, later sought acquire and maintain the US’s own energy resource.
The USA also withdrew her stake from the Giant Bretton Woods, which nearly led to a total collapse of the firm. The functions of OPEC were also affected. The relations between Arab countries improved, since they perceived their unity as a way of assisting their ‘beleaguered brother.’ Eventually, peace was restored after a compromise was reached.
Gulf Countries and Nationalization Policies to Foreigners
The Gulf countries consist of Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The six member states formed the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Foreigners in these countries find it difficult to secure nationalization policy provision by the said states due to exponential growth of population, decreased job opportunities and gradual diminishing of available resources. Other factors, such as security concerns, also play a major role in this matter. This caused by international terrorism that has made the world become quite unsafe.
The above challenges made the Gulf countries to even impose other austerity measures, such as non-renewal of work permits upon expiry, placement of expatriates on temporary contracts rather than as immigrants, and finally, imposition of taxes on expatriates and proposals for cuts on their allowances.
The Arab states of Syria, Yemen, Egypt and Libya are characterized by a number of common features, such as political administrative structures, religious composition and geographic location. Initially monarchies, they were later transformed into Arab republics. Another common feature is the recent revolutions that swept across different Arab states. This situation saw the ruling regimes of these countries deposed through revolutionary means, the only exception being Syria which is currently on-going. There is a general feeling that the same fate will befall the Syrian regime, which is already under siege.
The above mentioned states are predominantly inhabited by Muslims. Other religious faiths, such as Christianity, also exist, but their proportion is quite insignificant. Finally, their geographic locations place them strategically close to each other. This made it easier for the revolutions to spread more rapidly across borders than it was originally anticipated.
Why Containing Social Problems in Monarchies is Easier than in Arab Republics
Citizens of monarchies tend to voluntarily and respectfully owe allegiance to their leader. Some monarchs are associated with divine powers that are out of reach of any ordinary person! This has created fear and helped instill discipline in dissenting citizens. In fact, some states, such as Iran, the state’s leader is simultaneously a supreme spiritual leader. He commands a lot of respect which can easily stifle any form of protests or violence.
In republics, opinions can be challenged, but in monarchies the leader’s words are final. The above differences are due to the administrative structure. It, therefore, can be assumed that since in republics democracy is allowed, decision-making is slow and bureaucratic. This complicates things because the effect of dealing with unrests must be ratified and passed through various organs. The issue may be dealt with when the situation gets out of control. On the other hand, a monarch is able to deal with discontent immediately, because sometimes he does not need to hold various consultations. A person in charge can consider an amicable action plan within the shortest possible time.
Monarchs are endowed with immense wealth, with some having invested in various projects, such as charitable organizations and vital sectors of the economy where a large number of ordinary citizens are employed. The said organizations cater for welfare of the underprivileged persons, thereby making some people be reluctant to participate in protests. The wealth can at times be used to buy loyalty from poor groups, who make up the largest population in these countries. It can also sway emotional feelings about belonging to a particular social group, such as a tribe, a clan, a race and a religion.
The Main Challenges for Arab Countries in a Post-Arab Spring Era
The Arab spring era brought a lot of challenges to the leaders who succeeded the ousted regimes. Among the challenges is the reconstruction process for states like Libya that faced massive bombardment of her reliable oil wells. There is also a leadership challenge, since a new regime wants to satisfy every stakeholder in the country.
Some people view regime change as a ploy by the West. Balancing this perception with the views of ordinary citizens remains one of the biggest challenges for newly elected governments. There is also a challenge of getting the supporters of the fallen regimes to cooperate, thus fostering national healing and reconciliation.
Stability in the Arab World
Stability in the Arab world still remains paramount to the rest of the world. The perception is based on both democratic representation and peaceful resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflicts. The former will bring satisfaction to all citizens who participated in electing leaders of their choice, and ensure accountability of leaders. The latter will remove any trace of doubt with regard to sincerity, because it has been the bone of contention since 1948. It will definitely accomplish the objective of finding a lasting solution to the problem.
Politics and socio-economic influence on respective citizens cannot be ignored in the rapidly changing modern world. The need for a dynamic environment to enhance personal desires, objective impacts and overall societal accommodation has influenced events like the ‘Arab Spring’.